The actor will leave the soap at the end of his current contract.
Jake has played the role of Max Branning in the show since 2006, but EastEnders bosses have devised an explosive storyline that will lead to his departure from the role.
“I’ve had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends. I’ll of course miss everyone there but I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds.” – Jake Wood
Could Max’s current grievance against Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) be the beginnings of his leaving line? The Beeb are staying tight-lipped but have said that the character won’t be killed off.
Earlier this year, Max signed his share of Walford East over to business partner Ian – placing the asset out of reach of his estranged wife Rainie (Tanya Franks) in their divorce battle.
With his divorce now finalised, Max is ready to reclaim what is his, but Ian is not in a position to hand it over having borrowed against the restaurant to buy The Queen Vic.
“Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long. We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out.” – Jon Sen, Executive Producer
Max has been central to a number of huge storylines since his first appearance in Walford in June 2006, including his affair with Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner); feud with brother Jack (Scott Maslen); becoming the victim of a hit and run, which it transpired his daughter was responsible for; and plotting to destroy Albert Square after being falsely imprisoned for killing Lucy Beale.